Today we’d like to introduce you to Dani Bondurant.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Oh, it’s been SUCH a fun journey! Since 2015, I have been designing products with the sole purpose of spreading kindness and positivity in the world! In 2014, I had decided to take a pause in my elementary teaching career and spend more time with my own kiddos, volunteering in their school and being present when they were home. During that time, I also found more space in my life to spend time on my passion for paper crafting, scrapbooking, and creating handmade greeting cards. I sent the cards to anyone and everyone, simply because it made me happy, and I knew it made the recipients happy, too! My friends eventually started encouraging me to try selling my cards, and my business was born!
My first online shop, Big Hugs Little Envelopes, opened in April of 2015 with a focus on hand-stamped, paper-crafted greeting cards. As you can probably guess from the name, it was centered around the idea that a person can send a “hug” through the mail and brighten someone’s day, creating a ripple effect of positivity. Because of the support and encouragement from friends, family, and amazing customers, the product line quickly grew from just greeting cards to shirts, signs, totes, mugs, tumblers, stickers, and more, all individually made in my own home, one at a time, by me!
In the summer of 2018, I made a big decision (more about this later!) to rebrand to Love, Dani. The name Love, Dani is quite simple, really. I am still a huge fan of happy mail (both sending and receiving), and I always sign my cards and letters with, “Love, Dani” because my messages come straight from my heart. The same is true of all the products I design for the shop. They, too, come straight from my heart, right to YOU, with a whole bunch of love and kindness folded right in!
Now, at lovedani.com, you can find greeting cards, apparel, stickers, buttons, stationery, and more, all hand-lettered and hand-illustrated by me!
Has it been a smooth road?
Starting a business from the ground up is definitely a roller coaster ride of emotion and intensity! There have been plenty of times when I’ve thought, “What the heck am I doing and who do I think I am!?” In fact, from the very beginning, when friends were encouraging me to start selling my art, I genuinely thought, “That’s ridiculous! Who would want to PAY for something I made?” Of course, art is SO subjective and personal, so I’ve learned over the years that my art does not necessarily appeal to every person, and that’s okay! But it turns out, there seems to be a market for just about everything out there, and I’ve found that if you build it, they will come (that’s how the expression goes, right? 😂)
Before my rebrand, as Big Hugs Little Envelopes grew and grew, I found myself slowly steering away from greeting cards and doing mostly one-off, custom projects. While this work was very fun and kept me busy, it was also incredibly draining. With each new custom order, there was a significant amount of time, material, and financial cost that had to happen on the back end, and the price people were willing to pay for custom work just wasn’t covering all of the investment I was putting in financially and emotionally. I was trying to accommodate everyone’s wishes, and it resulted in me becoming a Jack of all trades but master of none, buying way more materials than I actually ended up using, pulling all-nighters to design and complete custom work, and even taking work on vacation with me.
I also found myself losing the heart of the reason I started my business, which was to put MY creations and MY visions out into the world and to create items that promote kindness and positivity. I was doing a lot of putting people’s logos onto things like stickers, mugs, shirts, etc., rather than making my own designs. I loved supporting other small business owners in this way, but essentially, I was turning myself into a print shop instead of an artist.
About a year ago, I had a heart to heart conversation with my husband, and he asked me a question that really hit home. He said, “What can you offer the world that nobody else can?” And with that, I realized that with the right tools, anyone can print items for other businesses. There are experts for that who already exist. What I needed to offer the world was my heart, through my art. I realized quickly that I needed to release some of the manufacturing tasks to others so that I could spend my time and energy on the pieces that mattered most to me – my art and design. I’d also been developing my craft and honing my style, and so it just seemed natural to make the transition within my business. By partnering with local printers and manufacturers, I am now able to dedicate my time to designing new and improved products, kicking the whole thing up several notches! With a whole new look to my products and a whole new product line, it seemed fitting to change the shop name as well. Because I now design more than just greeting cards, Big Hugs Little Envelopes has evolved into Love, Dani.
That being said, my advice to anyone just starting their journey is, don’t be afraid to try new things! Don’t be afraid to give up the good to get to the great. And most of all, don’t be afraid to follow your heart. It might be a risk, but it is worth it!!!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Love, Dani – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Love, Dani is truly a combination of two of my favorite things on the planet: expressing my creativity through my art and spreading joy, kindness, and positivity through simple acts. A friend asked me recently where I find my inspiration. In all honesty, I find it in the everyday aspects of life. Nature, books, dreams, family, friends, role models, other artists, television shows… I can find inspiration anywhere! But what keeps me going and inspires me most is all of YOU! When you write to me and tell me how a greeting card you sent made someone cry tears of joy, when you tell me that my art inspired you to make someone else’s day, it melts my heart and just reassures me that this is EXACTLY what I am meant to do in my life. I think that’s what I’m most proud of as a brand.
Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
This is such an interesting question because I actually have no formal training in graphic design or business! What I do have is an awesome amount of grit and determination and a belief that kindness really does matter, and without a doubt, that’s been the key to my success. I’ve been through some pretty big struggles in life, and kindness, acceptance from others, and never giving up on myself were the things that pulled me through. Because of those experiences, I am 100% certain that I am building a brand that matters in the world. That in itself is a success in my book.
- Website: www.lovedani.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lovedanistudio/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lovedanistudio